Feb 10, 2021 @ 18:31

Lahat na lang nega! Panelo blasts Duterte’s critics for bias

Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo on Wednesday appealed to President Rodrigo Duterte’s critics to set aside their “biases” and instead appreciate the Chief Executive’s work performance.

Panelo made the call during his commentary show “Counterpoint,” as he lamented that members of the opposition have been “poisoned by [their] own dislike of this man (Duterte).”

“Hindi niyo iniisip, kumbaga naiimpluwensiyahan kayo ng ayaw niyo sa Presidenteng ito, so lahat ng pwedeng ginawa niya o nilunsad niya na makakabuti sa mga kababayan natin, hindi kayo naniniwala (You’re unaware that you’ve been influenced by your dislike of the President, so you don’t believe in all the good things that he is doing for our countrymen),” he said.

Panelo issued the statement, when he touched on the resumption of the Supreme Court’s (SC) interpellation on petitions challenging the constitutionality of Republic Act (RA) 11479 or the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020.

The petitions filed before the SC have sought to declare RA 11479 unconstitutional.

Citing SC Associate Justices Marvic Leonen and Alexander Gesmundo’s remarks, Panelo said there was no valid reason to reject anti-terror law.

“Itong batas na ito eh klaro na hindi sinasama ang protesta, ang adbokasiya mo, pati na lahat ng mga exercise mo ng civil political rights (This law is clear that protests, advocacies, and exercise of civil political rights will not be stifled). What [else will be protected]? Freedom to join associations, to form associations, freedom to rally, freedom to shout your protest in high heavens,” Panelo said.

On Tuesday, Leonen said the government must do something to prevent terrorism which is taking a toll on people’s lives and causing widespread damage to society.

Gesmundo also said the country’s terror law is even “a lot better than the EU (European Union) terrorism law” because RA 11479 emphasizes that “those political and constitutionally guaranteed rights are excluded as a rule.”

According to RA 11479, signed by President Rodrigo Duterte on July 3, 2020, people who are part of the planning and training for the commission of terrorism will face life imprisonment sans the benefit of parole and the benefits provided under RA 10592 or the Good Conduct Time Allowance Law.

The anti-terror law provides that any person who threatens to commit terror acts will suffer the penalty of 12-year imprisonment.

It also states that people who propose to commit or join terror acts will be jailed for 12 years.

Advocacy, protest, dissent, stoppage of work, industrial or mass action, and other similar exercises of civil and political rights not intended to cause death or serious physical harm to a person or to create a serious risk to public safety are not considered terror acts, according to RA 11479.

Panelo said critics are against the terror law for the simple reason that they “cannot accept” Duterte.

He said members of the opposition are “intelligent” but could not appreciate Duterte’s way of addressing pressing issues in the country.

“Ayaw nila kay Presidente. ‘Yun ang problema (They don’t like the President. That’s the problem). They cannot accept him. And as such, anything that he does is wrong, is bad,” Panelo said. “You have to go beyond your biases.”

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